Monday, April 21, 2014

The Missouri Growler Bill - HB 1266 - Needs Your Help!

There are few places around Kansas City right now you can fill up a growler as of right now. Brewpubs like 75th Brewery who make their beer in-house can give you a 64 oz jug of their latest creation. Our breweries like Cinder Block, Big Rip, Martin City Brewery, and Kansas City Bier Co can give you a growler of whatever they've made as well. But there are very few other establishments, like restaurants and bars that can.

As it stands, for a bar or restaurant to issue you a growler of what they have on tap they have to meet certain qualifications. The first of those are food receipts. They have to sell more than 50% of their gross sales has to be food - so that likely throws out several bars, like Bier Station or The Belfry. The next is that they have to have 20 "unique" beers on tap, which isn't crazy, but honestly doesn't make much sense to me. With those two rules in mind, very few places that qualify sell growlers, the short list that comes to mind includes Anton's Taproom and BD's Mongolian BBQ in Independence.

If you travel to places like Portland, you'll find a big growler culture out there. Where people regularly travel to the local bottle shop or beer bar to fill up their growlers once a week. I love this idea, I'm a big fan of fresh beer.

Now, there are downsides to growlers,but that's a conversation for another time, the conversation today is about legislation. Currently there is a Missouri bill in house that would lift growler regulations - but it has stalled in the rules committee. The bill would make it so that any establishment with a liquor license to sell in the "original packaging" could sell 32oz to 70oz of beer in a container filled by an employee for off-premise consumption. So as I understand it, any place where you could buy a bottle of beer, to drink there or to take with you, could fill a growler.

This isn't to say it would happen, but this could make it so places like Bier Station, Bridger's Bottle Shop, Barley's, and The Belfry could sell growlers of their beer to take home. Which would be pretty rad if they have something on tap that you wanted to take away with you.

So, if you're in favor of this idea, this is where we need you. The bill hasn't been opposed, but is still  needs pressure to move on from the rules committee - so we need you to write your representative to let them know that you support this bill.

Aaron of has done all the heavy lifting on this. He's helped with moving this bill through the legislative process thus far and has provided all the materials you need to contact and let your representative know that you support this bill. You can find those materials quoted here:
Below I have given you a sample letter that you can cut and paste. Simply fill it in with your information and either print and mail it off or email it to your Representative. This link will help you find your representative if you don't already know. Please include a copy of the bill in your correspondence. Also, feel free to forward, tweet and/or post this information online. Thanks in advance for your help. If you have questions, please email me. 
Letter Sample:  
The Honorable ___________:  
I am a constituent of your district and wish to bring a piece of legislation to your attention.  House Bill 1266, sponsored by Representative Cornejo, proposes to amend Chapter 311 of RSMo to allow retailers to fill containers (growlers) from kegs for off-site consumption later.  Craft beer had a $33.9 billion dollar impact on the US economy in 2012.  Missouri's economic impact was identified as $612,435,000, with 6,622 individuals employed during that time.  Most craft beers are unavailable in cans or bottles, therefore this bill is needed to further the positive contribution craft brewers have made to Missouri's economy and will create more employment opportunities and taxable barrels.  Furthermore, growlers allow for consumers to bring clean, re-usable containers to a retail location for refilling, thus making HB 1266 a "green" bill that can reduce Missouri's carbon footprint.  
Please support Missouri economic growth by supporting this bill.    
Thank you for your time and attention. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of HB 1266.    
Your Name
 Phone Number
At the end of the day, even if you wouldn't buy a growler, this simply helps craft beer in general. Peeling back antiquated regulations helps ensure that there is broader access to the stuff we know and love. I hope some day soon there might be a bar in town that I can stop into and grab a growler of something local like KC Bier Co at the same time as grabbing a growler from a more national brewery, like Founders or Bells. You can find status updates on the bill - here. If all goes well, you'll be able to get growlers from a much wider spectrum of establishments come late August. So write your representative!

Update: I'm sorry to inform everyone that the bill is officially dead. It's still worth writing your representative if you're interested in this going through in the future. Maybe send along a six pack with it.


  1. You are missing McCoys, Granite City, and Gordon Biersch (at least).

  2. No Barley's in MO. This might happen in KS in 100 years.